Tolstoy in Riyadh: A Story of a Teacher and Her Muse

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Chris Cryer will be on site for a reading and discussion of her book, followed by a reception. She now teaches at Ventura College and worked at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. Her book tells of her divorced-single-mother adventure in the heart of the Islamic world and her exploration of the Saudi Kingdom’s need to preserve old world values and traditions in the face of change. It offers an antidote to Islamophobia with valuable insight into today’s volatile Middle East. Accompanied by her fourteen-year-old son and a few books by Leo Tolstoy, Chris found a sense of connection where she least expected it.

The fast-moving, slightly comic, always fascinating adventure pulls us directly into the journey. We come to respect and love the mother-son duo for their unprejudiced outlook and their cool-headed survival of Mutawas (moral police), strict laws and customs. This book is one of few based on true events, written from the inside out, that show the Arab side in the Islamic world, a place long held in mystery under the dark images of Western media.


Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2011

Nonfiction Finalist, North Texas Festival of Books 2012

Best Biography, Paris Book Festival 2012



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